Monday, December 24, 2012

Silent Night

JR (Japan Rail) advertisement from 1988.


Rain will change to snow on to late at night
Silent night, Holy night
Christmas Eve one-shot, and I'm sure you will not come
Silent night, Holy night

I feel like I always say, if tonight it is not likely to come true, the thoughts that I have hidden deep in my heart...
Silent night, Holy night

Silver glitter Christmas Tree is in the corner that lasted into the night,
feelings for you still
Silent night, Holy night 

Wherever you are for the holidays, we hope you can be with those you love.

Until next, sweet sailing and happy holidays.

Pandibonium, K, and Momo (the wonder dog).

No Rain No Gain

October 7, 2012

The sky looked heavy as we made our way to Lake Hinuma.  As we didn't get as many opportunities to sail this year, I was determined that whatever the weather, I was going sailing.

Along the way we were passed by a train -  a single car of the Kashima Rinkai Railway Ōarai Kashima Line which stops at Lake Hinuma - brightly painted with advertising for "Mentai Paku" (Pollock Park).  Mentai Paku is a company at Oarai Port, just a couple of miles northeast of the lake, where they pack marinated (read spicy) pollock roe.

By the time we reached the harbor, rain had started to fall.   We've sailed in the rain before, and I was not about to be deterred.  Happily, K was willing to brave the elements with me.  Don't know what the harbor operators were thinking about us as they launched Bluesette with umbrellas in hand.

Note the bird just left of the mast.

The rain was gentle, and not too cold.  Winds were light and variable, rising to five knots, but mostly less.  It was very peaceful in the quiet rain.  Quite a different experience. 

Surpisingly, we weren't the only ones on the water in the rain.

On the north shore, windsurfing class was in session.

A water skier was also enjoying the lake in spite of the rain.  Well, if you're going to get wet anyway, why not?

We were glad that we didn't let a little rain stop us from sailing.  The light winds allowed K to get in some tiller time and we both enjoyed the different sights and sounds of rain on the lake.

A hot shower and lunch at Mama's Kitchen brought a comfortable end to our  rainy day outing.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Changeable Weather

September 15, 2012

September weather is like a box of chocolates. Fattening.

Taking advantage of every free day with decent weather as fall approaches, we enjoy each sail and marvel at the beauty of the changing sky.

 Pandabonium readies the boat and raises the sails prior to K stepping aboard.As can be seen here, we have two painters.   A thicker, shorter one is for launching and tying up at the dock.  A long, thin one is used by K for casting off.  The extra length allows her to control it from inside the cockpit.

 Nice breeze picking up.

 K is happy that we're flying the jib again, giving her something important to do.

As always, we look forward to Mama's.   K had some sort of pasta dish, while I savored my plant-based teishoku tray featuring stuffed tomato, konnyaku with bamboo shoots, tofu, rice, spinanch with sesame, and miso soup.

Nothing dramatic to report.  "Just" another beautiful day of sailing fun and good food.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Number 9

No, I'm not referring to Revolution 9 by the Beatles. 

The fourth movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9 is performed throughout Japan every December and was even featured at the Winter Olympics of 1998 in Nagano (see this post from two years ago).

WHY is this music such a hit with the Japanese?  Last year, CBS made this report:

Long time favorite of mine, too. In fact, maybe I'll name my next Lido "Ode to Joy".  (nah)

Happy Holidays.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Friday, December 21, 2012

One Sail Tied Behind My Back

August 24, 2012

It was another gorgeous day at Lake Hinuma with winds of around 10 knots. We launched without our jib.   We had never sailed Bluesette with just the main, and I wanted to see how she handled.   Would it be easier to sail solo with just the main?  The reason for the question was in an hypothetical instance when K didn't want to go sailing and I decided to take the train up to the lake and go out alone. (Doesn't really sound like much fun, actually, when I think about it.)

If there are any other pilots (aviators) out there, you will appreciate that a jib acts much like the leading edge slats which are deployed on airliners during the approach to landing phase.  (Some light planes have a similar feature built into the wing in the form of a slot).  Like the slats, the jib's purpose is to increase the amount of sail(wing) area,  but importantly slats and jib also direct and smooth the flow of air over the wing/mainsail's leading edge, increasing that wing/sail's "lift".   In the case of the airliner, it allows the plane to fly slower.   For a sailboat, it allows the boat go faster than if one had just increased the size of the main by the area of the jib.


Here's a diagram of jib and mainsail sailing into the wind:

Thanks to Sanscaper for this link to an exhaustive discussion of the physics of sails:

Of course, the aerodynamics of wings and sails is much more complex than I have space to discuss here - or the expertise to do the topic justice. 

As expected, the asymmetry of the setup made the tiller pull hard as the boat tried to turn to windward.    It wasn't too difficult to overcome, but the added drag of the rudder being used to correct the weather helm slowed us down a bit.   Where the lack of a jib really proved to be a liability though was while coming about.   Without the jib to pull the bow around, she turned like an overloaded barge.   She'd come up initially all right, but then slow way down the middle of a turn.    In sum, my question about single handing the boat without the jib was answered: no, it would not be easier than single handing with both sails unless perhaps the wind was really howling, in which case I shouldn't be going out alone anyway.

Haul on the tiller, we sang that melody,
Like all tough sailors do, when they're far away at sea.
(apologies to Bob Dylan)

Uh, oh.  Without the jib, K has little to do except perhaps serve beverages on the down wind legs.  She's smiling now, but how long will that last?

The problem I had not foreseen, was boredom for the crew.    Without her jib duties, K became restless.  There were rumblings of mutiny on the forecastle.    ("rumble rumble rumble, mutiny, mutiny, mutiny").   I tried to keep her occupied taking pictures of the scenery, while keeping an eye out for signs of trouble.

This fishing boat, which ran aground during the tsunami surge of March 11, 2011, still sits on the rocks; its twin outboards mounted on the transom.  I'm surprised they haven't been pinched, though I guess it would be hard to do without the culprit being obvious.

Mt. Tsukuba was visible to our west - our miniature Fuji-san.

I thought about putting K to work swabbing the deck, like they always do in those old seafaring movies, but I thought I'd be pushing my luck.  Besides, there isn't much deck to swab on a Lido 14 and what there is is covered in gel-coat so very easy to clean.

Finally, I relented to the crew's demands and we ended the single sail experiment and went for lunch at Mama's Kitchen.  Any chance of mutiny was nipped in the bud and peace and order returned to Bluesette.

Until next, sweet sailing.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


There is ice on Momo's water bowl and the bird bath is frozen solid these mornings.    But there is also hope - the Winter Solstice is upon us, which means that the days will start getting longer from the 22nd on.

Some people get stressed out or depressed at this time of year, what with the lack of sunshine, and in some places from the hectic pace of the season's consumerist frenzy, or (more understandably) for lack of sailing.  I am not immune.

If you are in such a state - chill.  No, don't be cold. Just relax.  Take a break for a few minutes and enjoy some nice pictures while listening to Nobuo Tokunaga  on his harmonica playing, what else?  Bluesette...

additional credits: Emiko Tada - piano; Sasaki Kenta - bass

Until next, sweet sailing.